Is Juicero’s failure a warning to future investment in connected products?

Posted on September 12, 2017 in Connected Devices, Smart Home

Really, VCs? Why Juicero?

It’s worth pulling the issues apart here. Firstly, VCs see consumer hardware as a compelling. David Krane, a partner at GV told the New York Times that Juicero was “the most complicated business that I’ve ever funded. It’s software. It’s consumer electronics. It’s produce and packaging.” Was he simply seduced by a shiny prototype that promised much but failed to deliver?

Innovation — not just newcomers but also the old guard

The bigger part of the whole issue is that a lot of innovation in hardware is coming from big, traditional companies and there’s the temptation to find hardware created by smaller companies like iRobot — the maker of Roomba — and Dyson — famous for their vacuum cleaner tech. It’s clear that while white goods, for example, can be accused of being dinosaurs of the tech space, the innovation is there.

Bringing consumer and company closer

Any white good or big home appliance is part of a company to consumer relationship that might last ten years or more. It’s not just about a warranty, as connected appliances will be updated, security patched and repaired remotely. Then, of course, there are potential peripheral relationships with food and laundry retailers and cooking equipment companies, as the sheer volume of data that the devices can produce will have a big influence on their development decisions.

Tech journo and writer, based in Berlin, Germany.

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